A Process Mindset Can Change the World

Our mindsets – the lenses through which we perceive the world – shape both individual and organizational behaviors. Mindsets inform the questions we ask and therefore what answers are available to us.

At the SAP Signavio Business Process Transformation Forum last month in Orlando, we heard a lot about the “process-centric mindset” as a way to discover new solutions to old problems and provide clarity amid complexity. The mix of business and technology and of thought leaders and practitioners delivered a cocktail of ideas, insights, questions, and prognostications that reminded attendees of the value of an in-person event.

The moments of insight seem painfully simple and obvious in retrospect. But simple is not the same as easy, and so here are top takeaways from the forum.

Time to Value: 14 Minutes

SAP Signavio Co-General Managers Gero Decker and Rouven Morato have strong feelings about process transformation. Speed, value, and experience are the pillars of process transformation success, so they decided to show just how quickly customers can achieve value. In less than 14 minutes — the average time to value for SAP Signavio Process Insights — the demo team was able to connect and analyze a live customer database, generate a model, and propose steps for improvement.

Simply mapping a process for the first time allows everyone to see the flows and interconnectivities of how work gets done. It also highlights how optimization in one area impacts other systems and can diminish the experience for other teams downstream in the process. Add in the ability to identify bottlenecks and redundancies — and, more importantly, tailored suggestions for highest impact changes — and people start to get excited.

Process Software Is Not Process Knowledge

SAP Signavio executive Colleen Speer hosted a lively discussion with thought leaders Dr. Mathias Kirchmer of BPM-D and McKinsey Partner Darwin Deano. Part of that conversation included a reminder that business process knowledge is not the same as deploying business process management software.

Functional leaders — CFOs, CHROs, CPOs — understand how work should get done and own their processes. As the discipline of process transformation evolves, more and more companies are looking to process management software to help them standardize, harmonize, and optimize processes across their organizations.

Both speakers warned against the misperception that process knowledge is less important in automated systems, arguing that automation fragments process knowledge, effectively outsourcing it. Successful organizations are setting themselves apart by encouraging their leaders to keep actual process knowledge alive, because the organization’s ability to evolve depends on it. It is not an either-or-decision; true success needs both.

Change Is a Lifestyle

There is no doubt that we are living in a time of increased volatility, and that success depends on a company’s ability to adjust behaviors quickly and without friction when confronted with changing markets. Change is not just about having a flexible technology infrastructure. Businesses are made up of people and no change will happen if they aren’t ready and willing.

Under the right circumstances, people can be quite good at change; after all, our species is the most adaptable on the planet. Articulating clear goals, openly soliciting input, establishing transparent communication channels, and evaluating the impact of changes on people can help create the necessary climate of adaptability.

Processes Generate Data

Over the past decades, data has rightly become a highly prized asset. Companies that effectively harness data often outcompete others in their industry. C-suites everywhere run on data-driven dashboards that track key performance indicators (KPIs), turning an alarming red or a soothing green depending on circumstance. That data comes from processes generated by the day-to-day activities of getting work done. If a KPI improves and you want to replicate that improvement, look for changes in the processes that generated the data.

In It Together

A process mindset makes it clear that everything an organization does is interconnected — the ripples of any change travel far. The inherent challenge then is to create positive waves of change that not only improve the bottom line, but also increase customer and employee satisfaction.

Based on the engagement in Orlando, many in the process-driven community are passionately dedicated to elevating the discipline from the ranks of mere regulatory compliance. With a process mindset, organizations can develop agility and resilience, give business leaders a pathway for connecting strategy to execution, and provide clarity amid complexity.

Expertise is always engaging and curious minds are a delight, but it’s not every day that you get to witness a collective shift in mindset.

To dive deeper into what process transformation can do, watch replays from the Orlando forum or register for the SAP Signavio Business Process Transformation Forum in Berlin, Germany, November 9-10, 2022.